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Graduating to an Ikea-Free Adult Apartment in Brooklyn

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A living space with a fireplace, bicycle, bed with patterned bed linens, and works of art.
One of Aufrichtig’s favorite possessions is her bicycle, which she bought from a tall man who accidentally ordered the bike in the wrong size.

Welcome to House Calls, a new feature in which Curbed tours New Yorkers' lovely, offbeat, or otherwise awesome homes. Think your space should be featured next? Drop us a line.

If there's one thing that can be found in most New Yorkers' apartments, it's this: Ikea. But that isn't true for Aliza Aufrichtig, a 20-something education enthusiast who's slowly furnishing her apartment with anything but the inexpensive particle board wares. Aufrichtig moved into her Brooklyn Heights studio following a break-up with a Park Slope one-bedroom and the boyfriend she shared it with. Her move to Brooklyn Heights symbolized a new start: both in her personal life and in her surroundings. Her resolve to furnish without the help of the Swedish furniture purveyor was born out of a desire to have things that will last—her college-era Ikea furniture barely withstood her prior move from California—and to be surrounded by things that tell stories. There are, after all, few anecdotes behind a Billy bookshelf.

A living area with a bed that has patterned bed linens, a fireplace, a bicycle, and a window.

Aufrichtig moved to New York City to take a job with Flocabulary, a company that she says produces educational hip-hop music akin to Schoolhouse Rock. Aufrichtig left Park Slope for Brooklyn Heights because it put her a walkable distance from work—walking is such a hobby of Aufrichtig's that she says she's strolled the length of Manhattan several times, and walked Bedford Avenue from head to toe for her last birthday—despite shaving space off of her abode.

A living area with a patterned couch, table, chair, bed with patterned bed linens, bookcases, and windows.

Aufrichtig's "adult-ified" apartment has also taught her the valuable skill of being neat. Because there are no separate rooms, she can see her mess at any given time. She's gotten into the habit of making her bed. "Previous to living here, I would say I was like a 6 out of 10 on the neatness scale. But again, having to see everything at all times, I've been more like a 9," she writes.

A bed with patterned bed linens and pillows.

Aufrichtig's love of learning is reflected in her wares: an old school desk from Brooklyn Flea that she says comforts her and reminds her of her days as a high school English teacher in the Bay Area, a collection of books that she writes helped woo her current boyfriend during a dinner party, an analog radio that keeps her from getting lost to the Internet. And most of her furniture also comes with a story: the dinosaur key hook sent by a friend, the steel cabinet she found on her first foray to Astoria, the West Elm bed frame that was the result of a "very expensive jog."

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